This trip is the perfect option for those wishing to explore Uruguay with their own vehicle. Start the trip in Colonia Del Sacramento, discover the old town of Montevideo, hike in the National Park of Quebrada de los Cuervos (Crows’ Ravine), stay at typical estancias, trek to the Natural Reserve of Cabo Polonio to visit one of the biggest reserves of sea lions in the world and combine the whole trip with accommodations full of character.
1 Night in San José Province. 1 Night in Montevideo. 2 Nights in Treinta y Tres Province. 2 Nights in Mariscala. 2 Nights in Rocha.
A complete map of Uruguay will be provided together with the necessary directions to reach each one of the estancias is included in the itinerary.
Day 1: Colonia – San Jose (L / D) Arrive at Colonia Del Sacramento where the car rental commences (Renault Logan or similar). Car rental rate includes: Unlimited Mileage. Local Tax. CDW Third Party & THW (Theft Waiver). One additional driver. Total insurance included (covers everything except for broken windows and radio theft). One day of car rental is 24 hrs and the company gives one hour of tolerance. After that, one day of car rental will be charged directly. Cars are usually delivered with little fuel so clients can also return the car empty (this is to avoid extra cost for fuel recharge).
Self-drive to Finca Piedra Farm located in the region of San José (80 minute drive) where you will be served with a delicious lunch and spend the first day in the Uruguayan countryside. The Estancia invites you to hike, discover their own vineyards, take a bike ride across the fields, relax at the pool or enjoy an afternoon riding. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight at Estancia Finca Piedra.
Day 2: San Jose / Montevideo (B / L) Continue the trip to Montevideo (90 minute drive) where you will be expected for lunch at the lively Port Market. During an afternoon walking city tour you can discover the highlights of the ancient city center of Montevideo. You will also visit several art museums and the famous Solis theatre. Overnight at My Suites Hotel in Montevideo.
Day 3: Montevideo / Treinta y Tres (B / L / D) Drive to the Province of Treinta y Tres where you will stay at Estancia Los Platanos. Lunch and afternoon rural activities; guests will be able to participate in the daily activities of rural life and learn about the gaucho culture, the countryside way of life and its traditions. Dinner at the estancia. Overnight at Estancia Los Platanos.
Day 4: Treinta y Tres (B / L / D) Enjoy the simple things of the everyday rural life by participating in the daily activities of the estancia working alongside the gauchos. The work varies depending on the time of the year but the wonderful, friendly gauchos with their berets, ‘bombachas’ (riding trousers) and knives tucked into their colorful belts, always welcome a bit of help checking and moving the stock or putting animals into the corrals; they all seem to have been born on a horse and it is a delight to be riding with them! Full board included. Overnight at Estancia Los Platanos.
Day 5: Treinta y Tres / Mariscala (B / L / D ) Early drive to the National Park of Quebrada de los Cuervos where you will spend the day trekking down the fantastic gorge that is formed at the junctions of the “Yerbal Stream” and “Olimar River” (a local guide can be coordinated with advance notice and extra cost). A lot of wildlife can be seen in the area which is also great for bird watching. The estancia will prepare a nice picnic for guests so they can spend the day exploring. Afternoon drive down Route 8 towards Mariscala where guests will enjoy dinner and relax overnight at Estancia El Balcon del Abra.
Day 6: Mariscala (B / L / D) Today you will spend a full day at this estancia dedicated to the breeding of horses and which is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Lavalleja Province. Guests can organize some trekking to the nearby hills, a riding tour to the nearby estancia (extra cost) or just relax at the natural BIOTOP pool. Full board included. Overnight at Estancia El Balcon del Abra.
Day 7: Mariscala / Rocha (B / L / D) After breakfast, drive south-east along the winding and panoramic Route 109 towards the Province of Rocha. You will enjoy wonderful landscapes. Arrive at Estancia Guardia del Monte where a delicious lunch will be waiting for you. Guardia del Monte is a traditional estancia with outstanding landscape beauty and important ecosystems containing a great variety of birds and native scrublands. You will enjoy some quality bird watching along the large area of marshlands and wetlands both of which are teeming with bird life (more than 400 species in this area), otters, coypus and capybaras. You will be able to spot the graceful black-necked swan (largest populations in the world found here), the rare white goose, the pink flamingo (a species of flamingo with very bright pink pigment and quite common in Uruguay) and many ducks and other birds such as the largest bird in South America - the ‘ostrich-like’ “ñandú” (American rhea). Overnight at Estancia Guardia del Monte.
Day 8: Rocha (B / L / D) After breakfast, drive to the town of Valizas where a local guide will be waiting for you to start an unforgettable tour to “Cabo Polonio” Village. After a short walk around the town, we suggest starting the trek along the coastline that will take you towards the incredible shifting sand dunes (one of the biggest ones in the world). You will trek up the “Buena Vista Hill” from where a fantastic view of the ocean can be appreciated, to then continue down towards Cabo Polonio (4 hours trek). After a delicious seafood lunch at a local seaside restaurant you will visit the light house and sea lion reserve. Afternoon 4x4 truck drive towards the main entrance of Cabo Polonio where a private transfer will drive guests back to Valizas to pick up their car. Drive back to Estancia Guardia del Monte for dinner and overnight accommodation.
Day 9: Rocha / Montevideo (B) After breakfast, drive back to Montevideo Airport. Drop off the car at the Montevideo Airport. The famous beach resorts of Punta del Este and Jose Ignacio can easily be visited on the way back to Montevideo. Alternatively you can consider adding on a beach extension to your holiday in the Punta del Este/Jose Ignacio area or Rocha Province.